Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler

Book Summary

Emily is a typical seventh grade girl who is trying to find friends, do well in school, and have a good relationship with her mother.  At her first swimming lesson, she is surprised to discover she is far from typical--she is a mermaid!  She tries to keep the truth hidden from everyone else, while she explores a new underwater world, but someone who knows her secret is determined to keep her out of the water.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap book cover
The Tail of Emily Windsnap

Book Review

This book is not remarkably complex. There is not a lot of depth in the characterization, the writing style is fairly simplistic, and the events are predictable. While it is not a book that will push the thinking of students, it is a book that will be a favorite with many readers, because the plot fulfills so many fantasies--a girl worried about losing a friend finds a new, exciting one; a girl solves a mystery; a girl re-unites her family and discovers her real father has always loved her; a girl has a moment of revenge on someone who has wronged her. While the main character is in middle school, the content and writing style are appropriate for upper elementary readers. 

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"The water reminded me of those advertisements where they pour a ton of melted chocolate into a bar. Warm, and silky smooth.  I felt as if I were melting with it as we swamp."  48

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Parent/Child Relationships
  • Mermaids
  • Adventure/Mystery
  • Friendship

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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